Written by Richard Danus
Directed by Les Landau
One of the greatest recurring characters in the Star Trek universe is Q, in my opinion. He is an omnipotent, immortal being who is like a spoiled child in so many ways. Part of his endearing quality has to be credited to John de Lancie’s irreverent portrayal. Why he, as an actor, has never had greater success is beyond me.
Deja Q finds the Enterprise orbiting the planet Bre’el IV, trying to find out why one of their moons has suddenly shifted its orbit and is descending on the planet. Q suddenly enters the bridge, naked, claiming to have been thrown out of the Q Continuum and made into a human.
The crew immediately believe that it is Q’s usual nonsense and that he is responsible for what is happening to the moon. When he asks how he can convince them he is now just a “mere” mortal, the Klingon Worf (Michael Dorn) replies: “Die.”
There is a great deal of comedy during the episode, centered around Q. He is put to work on helping to solve the problem of the moon’s deteriorating orbit. When he proposes the solution of just changing the rule of gravity in the universe, everyone else understands that the solution is impossible, but Q wonders why they can’t “just do it.”
Of course Q has a secret motivation, and that becomes clear when the Calamarians come to call. They are a gas-like life-form with which Q has had dealings in the past. They complicate the job of stopping the moon’s deteriorating orbit as well as cause harm to the android Data (Brent Spiner).
Data made an unlikely ally for Q, but he does become injured as a result of trying to save Q from the Calamarians. As a result, Q experiences the human feelings of guilt and remorse for the first time.
The acting in this episode is superb. Everyone plays off Q wonderfully. However, it is Spiner’s performance that stands out. They are the two contrasts: Q, the human who does not want to be, and Data, the android who longs to be human. The actors seem to have a natural camaraderie that shines every time they are together in a scene.
Patrick Stewart is superb in the Captain’s role, trying to maintain order as well as deal with having “a very bad day” with the variety of problems thrown at him. He comes off as the father trying to discipline a child who only means well and doesn’t realize the havoc he’s causing.
The other crew members whom Q encounters; Worf, Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg), Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden), and Geordi (LeVar Burton) all make the most of their scenes with him, bringing in a comic edge to a very serious situation.
Anyone who’s not a fan of the series or has been following the episodes thus far will be lost as to who exactly Q is and why he generates such animosity wherever he goes. This episode works best when viewed after having seen the previous Q episodes, Encounter at Farpoint, Hide and Q, and Q Who?. For fans of the series, this is one of the gems.
Previous episode (link): Star Trek: The Next Generation – The High Ground
Next episode (link): Star Trek: The Next Generation: A Matter of Perspective